The Viennese writer Stefan Zweig, most famous for Beware of Pity, wrote the original Schachnovelle or Chess Novel in 1942, the last work of fiction he completed in his Brazilian exile.
It is the story of Dr. Berg (Paul Rhys) a well to do German banker who is interrogated by the Gestapo who want to find out where influential members of the Clergy and aristocrats have hidden their money. They hold him in a deserted hotel in solitary confinement in order to break him down. But he steals a book of chess puzzles from a guard and this keeps his mind active. Unfortunately after learning to play games in his head Dr. Berg goes mad.
The play was recorded on location in a deserted mansion in Belgrave Square by the sound designer Joe Acheson.
The history of chess reaches back to time immemorial, as can be seen from the numerous myths which surround its origin. The game has traditionally served as a parallel for human life and often as a metaphor for war, wit and virtue. It has, over the ages, permeated the worlds of culture and art.